Australia's defensive midfielder Carl Valeri has been rewarded for a strong season at his Italian Serie B club Sassuolo with an extension of his contract.
Valeri's contract was up at the end of the last European season in which his Reggio Emilia club narrowly missed out on promotion to Serie A.
Amid speculation that he might end up leaving Italy to play in the United Arab Emirates, Valeri sealed a two-year deal that will take him up to June 2014.
"They actually offered me a three-year contract but two years is enough," Valeri said from Italy where he is already in pre-season under new coach Eusebio di Francesco, who was Lecce's Serie A coach last season.
"I'm very excited about this because I'm happy at the club and I did not really want to leave.
"I was always pretty confident that I would sign something for Sassuolo.
"They told me and showed me that they wanted me to stay at the club and that was good enough for me.
"The club as an organisation has a lot of respect for its coach and its players.
"It's only a small club but it has the fundamentals and the basics for another successful season.
"It's a very professional club and I want to be part of it.
"I had some interest from elsewhere in Italy and from the Gulf, where everybody keeps saying they've got lots of money.
"But I never saw any money on paper and I could not wait and wait for something to come up."
Valeri's dream of playing in Serie A was crushed in June when his club lost a two-legged playoff against Sampdoria.
He said the blow won't curtail his fierce determination to keep fighting to realise his childhood ambition of mixing it with the big stars of Serie A.
"I've been in three promotion playoffs and lost the three of them," he said.
"In another year we nearly got relegated so anything can happen but we can't afford to set ourselves too many targets like we want this and we want that.
"We have to forget about promotion and always focus exclusively on the next opposition and that's the way we are going to approach the coming season."
Valeri has every reason to feel on top of the world at the moment.
Soon after signing the new contract that sorted out his immediate playing future, his wife Whittney gave birth to their second child.
"The baby girl was born on 11 July so it has been pretty busy but everybody's alright," he said.
"We have two girls now."
Valeri can now concentrate on the next big assignment of his professional career … the Socceroos' campaign to qualify for the World Cup in Brazil in two years.
Valeri has established himself in Holger Osieck's first-team squad and he is expected to play a key role in the final push for a place in the finals.
The Socceroos' next qualifier is a must-win match against Jordan in Amman in September.
"Regardless of my club situation I will always give 100 per cent to the national team because that's my major priority," he said.
"We've had a good start to our final round.
"Drawing in Oman was not easy, I can tell you that.
"And coming back to Australia three days later and giving a good display to get a draw against Japan who were flying at the time was positive too.
"It takes a lot out of you to do that after such a long season and I'm really proud of the team."
Rafael Benitez quietly slipped out of Chelsea as the UEFA Europa League winner ended its season with a 5-3 friendly loss to Manchester City at Yankee Stadium.